ORLANDO - The Orange County Health Department is joining a global effort to increase awareness on pneumonia as a public health issue and to prevent the millions of avoidable deaths from pneumonia that occur each year by recognizing November 12, 2010 as World Pneumonia Day.
World Pneumonia Day was launched in 2009 by a broad coalition of public and nonprofit organizations—including the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Pneumococcal Awareness Council of Experts (PACE)—to mobilize efforts to fight a neglected disease that kills more than two million children under age five every year. The event helped bring the health crisis to the public’s attention and encouraged advocates, donors and policy makers alike to take action to combat the disease.
What is the number one killer of children in the developing world? It’s not HIV/AIDS. It’s not Malaria. It’s Pneumonia! Pneumonia is a leading killer of both children and adults around the globe. Few know that pneumonia kills approximately 2 million children under the age of five worldwide each year. Resource-poor countries are particularly hard hit—for every child who dies of pneumonia in a developed country, more than 2,000 children die of pneumonia in developing countries. In the US, over 1 million children and adults are admitted to the hospital for pneumonia each year.
“Pneumonia is a concern for all of us, and there are safe and effective vaccines which can prevent this potentially deadly disease,” said Dr. Kevin M. Sherin, Director of the Orange County Health Department.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensed Prevnar 13, or PCV13, on February 24, 2010. On the same day, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend PCV13 for all children 2 through 59 months of age and for children 60 through 71 months of age who have underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for pneumococcal disease or complications.
The Orange County Health Department offers the pneumococcal vaccine as well as the seasonal flu shot at the health department’s ’s Central Health Center located at 832 West Central Boulevard, Monday through Friday from 7:30am- 3:00pm on a first-come, first-serve walk in basis. For adults, the cost of the pneumococcal vaccine is $66.49 and the flu shot is $28.00 (all prices are subject to change). Medicare is accepted. Both vaccines for children are free. The immunization program is closed the 2nd Friday of each month.